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Sunday, September 8, 2013

the man who fought to rename as "Thilagar Thidal" - Gandhian PN Srinivasan passes away

Vinayakar Chathurthi is tomorrow [9th Sept 2013] ~ celebrating it by placing idols of Ganesh at public places was propagated by the Great Tilakar…. Lokamanya  Bal Gangadhar Tilak  was born as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak in July 1856.  He fought unceasingly against the British and this great social reformer was conferred the title "Lokmanya", which literally means "Accepted by the people (as their leader)". Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of "Swaraj" (self-rule) and a strong radical in Indian consciousness. His famous quote, "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!" is well-remembered in India even today.

Chennaites and especially those of us living in Triplicane and those walking in Marina beach must know the historic importance of Marina and its association with freedom movement and Tilak………. Sadly, one man who strove to bring this out to the public, Gandhian Sri PN Srinivasan,  breathed last yesterday !!!

At some point of time, you sure would have admired the pristine beauty of Marinabeach –  the beach was famed for its beauty, ambience and rich eco system but stands a lot polluted though a part of it has been beautified by successive Governments. Crowds throng the beach on holidays and in summer to enjoy the cool sea breeze.  On the road side, many stone statues, some of them installed during the Tamil World Conference adorn the area. Poets Kambar, Ilango, Avvaiyar, Thiruvallur, Bharathiyar, Barathidasan stand amidst Kannagi, Gandhiji, Kamarajar, Nethaji Subash Chandrabose, Annie Besant, Swami Vivekananda, actor Sivaji Ganesan along side the triumph of Labour.  I had posted earlier on Jan 28th 2010 of the pain and efforts of an individual, a freedom fighter ~ PN Srinivasan going through the arduous legal process : It was his Writ Petition filed in  the High Court of Judicature at Madras that finally ended in the direction to the Govt. on installation of this plaque opposite the Presidency College near the historic place known as "Tilak Ghat" or "Thilagar Kattam".

“The historical significance of "Thilak Ghat” was well explained in the affidavit where the Tamil National poet Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi sang three National patriotic song to enthrall the audience of about more than 5000 people. This happened at Tilak Ghat at Triplicane. The silver bed of Marina Beach at Madras was the venue where the great national leaders like Balagangadhara Thilakar, Lala Lajpath Rai, Bipin Chandran Paul, Mahathma Gandhi, Subash Chandrabose, C.R. Doss, Mahakavi Bharathi, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai and others made their clarion call to the people of the land to raise against the British rules. In 1908, Subramania Siva, a core patriotic and friend of Subramania Bharathi have named this part of the Beach in Triplicane opposite to Presidency College as Tilak Ghat. The Government of Tamil Nadu has issued notification in the 40th Year of Independence in that, a special mention about the Thilakar Ghat has been made. Whenever Mahathma Gandhi visited Madras, he used to address big patriotic meeting at Tilakar Ghat. In 1919, March 18th and 20th, he delivered two speeches on his Sathiyagraha plans against British Government’s Rowlat Bill.  In 1920,  Mahathma Gandhi spoke on non−cooperation movement at the same venue, i.e., Tilakar Ghat opposite to Presidency College.

Sri PNS wanted this place to be declared a national monument and that monument to be erected at the same place so that the future generation would understand the sacrifices made by the forefathers for the freedom of the Nation; in 1987, a Gazette notification too was issued still nothing happened thereafter.  Relentlessly this Gandhian  knocked the doors of Court and in 2004  filed a writ. Finally orders were issued declaring the place as  "Tilak Ghat" or "Thilagar Kattam", and to commemorate the 26th January 2010, the 60th anniversary of Republic by putting plaque at that place (in English & Tamil)….. the plaque still adorns Marina.

The man who strove successfully ~ Freedom fighter and staunch Gandhian P.N. Srinivasan, who was also the editor of Bharatha Mani, a monthly Tamil magazine, died in Tambaram on 7th Sept 2013 morning. He was 84. Mr. Srinivasan was born in 1929 in Ponvilaindhakulathur village, Chengalpattu. PNS worked in ICF till his retirement in 1987.  He started Bharata Mani that year and continued to be its editor until his death. Mr. Srinivasan spent his life nurturing Gandhian values. He was a mentor for the Gandhi Study Circle, which was started under the inspiration of veteran Gandhian T.D. Tirumalai and later became the Gandhi Darshan Kendra. He was a member of the committee appointed by former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to organise the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. He also headed a cycle rally from Vaikom to New Delhi in 1997 during the Gandhi Sadhbhavana Yatra. A year later, he took part in a rally to re-enact the Vedaranyam salt satyagraha of C. Rajagopalachari. Mr. Srinivasan’s body was taken from the hospital in Tambaram to his native village. Congress leader E.V.K. S. Elangovan was among those who paid their last respects.He is survived by his wife Chandra, sons P.N. Venkatraghavan and P.N. Ravi, and daughters Manjula Raman and Malini Balaji. [this para courtesy : the Hindu of date]

Mourning the death of the patriot

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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  2. In the present political scenario, the importance of this monument would vanish. The endeavours of my father along with his team and the contribution of advocate Mr. Gandhi ,without any monetary benefit,shouldn't go waste. I hear people plead to build a monument for the late Jayalalitha there..

  3. I have had the privilege of meeting the late Srinivasan ji a few times. He was a humble and unassuming man who was deeply patriotic Finally, he won. The efforts he has taken to remind future generations about the nationalistic sentiments that echoed at Tilakar Thidal will not go vain.